Shekhawati Madhopur Travel Guide
The Shekhawati, which means the garden of the Sheikh, is Rajasthan's open-air art gallery. The region is famous for its painted mansions with beautiful frescos. A tour of the city is a veritable education of India's fascinating art. The wall art remains unmatched in the world, as it reveals the glory of the bygone era.
Shekhawati, museum of fresco art, is close to Delhi, on the way to Jaipur. The unique form of wall decoration practised at Shekhawati provides an excellent reference about social influences on artists commissioned by merchants to paint their mansions. The Shekhawati region lies in the triangular area between Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner. In the early 14th century, a number of Muslim clans moved into the area thereby giving rise to a township, which developed into important trading post on the caravan routes emanating from the ports of Gujarat.
Excursion around Shekhawati are :
Housing some of the finest Shekhawati frescoes the place abounds in havelis that stand witnesses to the rich and prosperous Marwari era of the 19th century. Nawalgarh has a college with a British clock tower and hundreds of painted havelis, old and new. Worth a dekko are the Aath (eight) Haveli complex, Anandilal Poddar haveli, Jodhraj Patodia haveli, Chokhani haveli and hotel Roop Niwas Palace.
Has one of the best forts in the region of Shekhawati. The imposing Ganeri-wala or Char Chok Haweli speaks volumes about the prosperity and lifestyle of a Marwari household. Places to visit are Sanwat Ram Chokhani haveli, Mirijamal Kyala haveli, Banshidhar Rathi haveli, Keshardev Sarraf haveli, Kedia haveli and Sanganeria haveli. The Harshnath temple (10th century), with its splendid architecture, is located on Harsh Nath hills, about 11kms from Sikar.
Jeen Mata temple is located 29 kms from Sikar. This temple is believed to have been constructed 1000 years ago. The fair during April-May draws devotees.
Sikar is now one of the two districts of Shekhawati, the other being Jhunjhunu. Sikar's extraordinary and well-equipped market, the clock tower and the painted Biyani havelis apart from Sagarmal Sodhani haveli, Madho Niwas Kothi, Jubilee Hall and Fort are the main attractions here.
The Jain temple and the temples of Gopinath, Raghunath and Madan Mohan are also popular with visitors.
Legend goes that the small town of Dundlod had an enlightened Thakur, who modernised his rugged fort. It houses a well-stocked library and portraits done in European style. Converted into a hotel, it offers the tourists the hospitality befitting small time royals. This quaint is in the heart of the Shekhawati region.
The fort here dates back to 1750. Steps lead up to the Diwan Khana, furnished with portraits, hangings and period furniture. It also houses a library and portraits done in European style can be seen here. The fort has now been converted into a hotel. The Goenka havelis and other with beautiful frescoes.
A place where you have to stop and indulge. One can shop for local handicrafts, besides textiles, it is renowned for brass and iron scissors. Worth visiting are the Kanoria and Ganeriwala havelis.
Khetri is famous for its exquisite frescos found in the Raghunath temple. The Bohpalgarh fort offers a treat for those who wish to go exploring. Places to see are Panna Lal Shah Ka Talab, Ram Krishna Mission, Sukh Mahal and Hari Singh temple. Excursions include - Ajeet Sagar, Rameshwar Das Baba Ka Ashram at Bassi and Baghor Fort.
The medieval fort of Mandawa is exquisitely built. A painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows, leads to the market. A breathtaking view of the town can be seen from the terrace of Castle Mandwa. The Mandwa family has a collection of traditional ceremonial costumes.
Attractions include the mid-19th century Raghunath temple, the Sona ki Dukan haveli and the Sahaj Ram Poddar Chhatri.
Chirawa was popular as a trading town between Churu and Loharu. It is known for its huge havelies. Worth visiting are Rai Bahadur Surya Mal Tulshan haveli, Nemani haveli, Mangalchand Dalmia haveli, Tara Chand Kesher Dev Dalmia haveli, Dulichand Kakrania haveli, ManoharLal Vaidh haveli, Bhola Ram Kakrania haveli, Kakrania well and Sekhsaria well.
Known as the home of the Rungtas and Seth-Pirmal, Baggar was founded in the mid of 15th century by the Nagar Pathans. Fatehpur was founded in the mid 15th century by Fateh Khan, a Kayamkhani Nawab. The havelis of Devra, Singhania, Goenka, Saraogi are famous for the frescoes. This place is famous for the tie and dye-fabrics.
Ramgarh was founded in the late 18th century by the Poddars. Exquisite paintings are found on the ceilings of the chhatris. Other spots of interest are the Sani temple and temple to Ganges, the havelis of the Poddars and Ruias.
Road : Shekhawati has a good network of roads that connect it to the other cities of Rajasthan. It is 120 km away from Jaipur. Jeeps and local buses can be used to commute locally in Shekhawati.
Rail : The mainline joining Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner passes through Shekhawati.
Air : The nearest airport is the Jaipur airport.